Death meets youth with a smile. To be old has never been so fruitful. Death himself smiles. He enjoys the mockery of the old having a better life than the young. It goes against the natural order of things and he is all the gladder.

Britain today makes fun of the natural order. We are a country where older people grow ever more prosperous on the back of the next generation. In this regard, George Osborne is the prize charlatan. He has trumpeted the need to pay off the deficit in the name of future generations, yet he pays scant regard for the young today – tuition fees trebled and due to go up further – despite the economic truth that this policy is bobbins – abolishing the educational maintenance allowance, changing grants for poor university students into loans. This is but a handful of Doctor Osborne’s prescriptions aimed at those daft enough to go into higher education. Old age, on the other hand, has brought a ‘triple lock’ on increasing pensions and considerable tax relief. Since the financial crisis, the silver foxes and vixens have not only been protected from the fallout – they are actually better off.

Since 2010 and the dreaded coalition, the word ‘fairness’ has been completely bastardised, so I will try and reclaim it here. Fucking the young to benefit the old is not fair. The only reason this happens is because old people vote significantly more than young people. Those under 30, but especially under 25 and under 21, need to seriously look at themselves and realise that the old adage that ‘if you don’t vote, then you don’t have a vote’ is apt. What is more important, before I lose the youth completely here, is that if the young, the old, the middle, or anyone else for that matter, do not have faith in the current political parties, then they need to start political movements of their own. If no political party speaks for you, speak for yourself.

Change happens slowly in this country, unfortunately. Unlike the French, we don’t go out on the streets en masse and force change in government policy overnight. The government sees to that. They stop us from doing so. That doesn’t mean it’s ok. Take to the streets. Stand up. Britain has a proud history of political protest, but the state always tries to crush it. From the Peterloo Massacre to the student protests of 2010, before and beyond that. We should not allow the state to suppress our most fundamental right to protest. If they are full of shit, we should tell them.

To quote an oft stated phrase, “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” That is not the case in this country. John Wilkes, who was the most combative soldier against the unfettered power of the state, a man imprisoned many times for his views stated in the North Briton and many times broken out of prison by the mob with shouts of “Liberty, liberty, liberty,” once said of the king, “I can’t tell the difference between the king and a knave.” Well, I can’t tell the difference between George Osborne and a vindictive swine.

The current expansion in the economy is largely down to a housing and debt boom, which is heavily dependent on the back of young people who are transfixed with the notion that they somehow deserve a quality of life comparable with that of their parents. What sweet and tender fools they are.

Are you aged 18 to 21? Forget about housing benefits. Do you rely on tax credits? Jog on. Despite statements in the press, the Conservatives don’t believe that work should pay. Not for the poor, anyway. You don’t vote for them, so they don’t care. Child poverty has gone up by millions under this government. What did they do? Change the definition of child poverty so that officially it didn’t matter.

Since well before Charles Booth’s seminal study on poverty in London in the late Victorian era to the creation of the welfare state and beyond, this country has always aimed to be better than it is, aimed to help those who are most in need. You might be reading this thinking, ‘So what? That’s what Conservatives always do when in power.’ You might be right. So stand up, wherever you live. Start a movement. Get out. Do something. The current government lives in a land and time when truths are untruths. Poverty does not exist, because they decide what poverty is.

Image: 38 Degrees

Fraser Bayes